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An Unexpected e-Mail of Encouragement

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – puuikibeach

A few weeks ago I wrote here about some of the health issues I’ve been dealing with lately.

As a general update, every week I’m feeling better and getting healthier. I plan to provide more specific results after the New Year.

Since my first post on these health issues, I’ve received many well wishes of encouragement.

Below is an e-mail that stood out because it came from a blogger buddy of mine who’s living in Paraguay with his family.

His name is Ken Hagerman. He’s a missionary and blogs with regular awesomeness over at his site www.ramblingbarba.com.

I wanted to share Ken’s e-mail because it was such a kind gesture of encouragement and inspiration.

It’s posted below with his permission – also, do yourself a favor and subscribe to Ken’s blog.

After watching that video detailing your ER visit I wanted to drop you a line or two of encouragement.

You and I are about the same age and like you, I have some weddings I want to see and some grand kids yet to spoil.

In relating my story I have told folks that I was convicted (spiritually) over my (physical) health. The fact is I woke one morning and looked at myself through new eyes.

I wasn’t getting any younger and I wasn’t getting any thinner.

As for health issues I had none save my girth.

I am 6′ 3″ tall but I weighed in between 325 and 330 lbs.

No high blood pressure, no diabetes, no cholesterol trouble and no joint pain – yet.

I started that day to change the odds of my future in favor of my kids and my wife.

I began eating and training like a body builder, sans the steroids, but with the discipline both in the gym and in the kitchen.

During the following 9 months I lost 95 lbs. and untold inches.

My body fat percentage went from Queso Fundido to nearly a Speedo – sorry that was my rap roots coming out ;-)

It was such a lifestyle change that led to me earning a certification as a personal trainer.

I continued to train and maintain my health until we moved to Paraguay. Once here there just wasn’t a gym to go to so I modified my habits to accommodate that.

A year later we moved into a little town that had a “gym.”

The owner would print out Internet pictures of weight training equipment and took them to the local welding shop as a guide.

Still I couldn’t complain and worked weights back into my routine.

It was during this time I found I had a bad aortic valve.

It had never presented itself before and I later discovered that it is very common within our age group to identify the leaky valve a bit later in life.

I then went through the long list of testing you described. My stress test was cut super short because my heart beat became so arrhythmical.

Ironically, I didn’t feel a thing.

In the end I had the valve changed and have made a full physical recovery.

However, the moral of my personal story is that had I not lost the weight years earlier and made those drastic lifestyle change – I likely would have died from this condition.

I am not suggesting our situations are the same.

I am celebrating that you didn’t discover any other, more serious, problems.

As I said, I have made a full physical recovery but the mental and spiritual side of it has been a little more difficult. I discovered I am no longer invincible.

Boo mortality.

I know this sounds cheesy coming from an Internet friend but I am here if you wish to “talk.” I don’t have the answers necessarily but I do have experience.

Ken and I have never met in person, but his kind email touched me – and it’s just another example of how this silly little blog I write has resulted in a connection that’s been both humbling and encouraging.

 Question: How might you encourage someone today with a note, e-mail or phone call?
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  1. Thanks Tor. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

  2. I’ve been amazed at the connections I’ve made through blogging. There really are some great people in this world!

  3. What an encouraging email, Ken. I love how certain struggles that people go through (who we’ve never met in person) can connect us. I have blogging friends like this too. They are such an encouragement to me.

  4. What a great email. I love that. I love his story too. I hope you are feeling better, Tor.

  5. Wake up calls come in all shapes and sizes. And, Ken’s story is less unusual than one would think. Glad to know you are on the mend, as well.

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